Island Health has always been clear that pay parking would be in place at the new North Island Hospital campuses in the Comox Valley and Campbell River when they open in late 2017. Parking fees from the North Island Hospital sites will be used to support parking administration, management and enforcement.
Almost $20 million has been invested to offer improved parking at the two sites. There will be more than 1,100 parking spaces across the two sites for patients, visitors, staff, physicians and volunteers.
We are not given specific funding for construction, maintenance and upgrading of parking lots. Pay parking will enable us to ensure operational funds that we receive from the province will be spent on the delivery of healthcare services.
Revenue generated from parking fees will be used to maintain and upgrade parking lots, and will pay for ongoing work such as cleaning catch basins, oil interceptors, fixing potholes, lighting, line painting, snow removal, de-icing and security. Management of the parking lots will be provided through a fixed-price contract with no revenue incentives to the contractor.
The zoning bylaw amendments – recently adopted in Campbell River and proposed in Courtenay – will have negative impacts on parking availability and on the operating budget and delivery of healthcare services at the new hospital sites. The revenue collected from parking fees is a small portion of our total budget, however, fees collected from both staff and clients/visitors are an important part of addressing growing demands for healthcare. Parking is more efficient and parking stalls are more available and easier to find, when limits are imposed and enforced. These bylaws would accomplish the opposite.
Without parking management and enforcement, there would be no mechanism to manage and enforce parking spaces most in need and allow people to park with the least inconvenience. This prevents misuse of the parking lots by people who are not legitimate users and who would deprive those who have a genuine need. Parking would become based on a first come, first served basis.
Parking enforcement is necessary:
- To ensure parking spaces are available as close to the hospital entrances as possible for patients, people with disabilities and families with infant children.
- To ensure designated parking areas for physicians, staff, volunteers, and others are used only by those for whom they were designated.
- To ensure parking spaces are used only by those requiring hospital services, visiting the site or working at the hospital.
- To prevent students, staff and visitors from the adjacent college property (currently using a pay parking program), from choosing to park at the new Comox Valley hospital campus to avoid paying for parking.
Pay by Space parking will offer several advantages for parking at the new hospitals, including pay station terminals near the hospital entrances that are protected from the weather. This means no need to go back to your vehicle to display a receipt on your dashboard. You will also be able to top up your parking time at any hospital parking station terminal without the need to return to your vehicle. Payment can be made by credit card or exact change (change machines will be available in the hospitals).
Except for special circumstance listed below, everyone using parking at the hospitals will pay for parking, including all staff and physicians. Special circumstances include:
- Courtesy parking will be available for patients who attend the hospital for renal dialysis, volunteers, members of the Auxiliary, and members of the pastoral/ spiritual care team.
- Discounted rates will be available for daily and weekly parking passes.
- Discounted or waived rates will be available for people who are experiencing financial hardship. Hospital Social Workers can help to advise in these circumstances.
Pay parking is in place at Victoria General Hospital, Royal Jubilee Hospital, Saanich Peninsula Hospital, Queen Alexandra Centre for Children’s Health and Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. It is also in place at residential care facilities in Victoria: Aberdeen, Glengarry, Gorge Road, Mount Tolmie, Oak Bay Lodge and The Priory. Parking fees will be implemented at all new hospital builds in the future, including the new Campbell River and Comox Valley hospitals when they open in late 2017.
Decisions around parking rates take into account rates at other hospitals and residential care sites across Island Health and a survey of similar operations in the area such as North Island College and the airports in Campbell River and Comox. The North Island Hospital sites will have the lowest parking rates on the Island.
During the last fiscal year (April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016) just over $7.66 million was collected from parking at all Island Health sites. We anticipate roughly 80% compliance in the parking program at both Campbell River and Comox by 2019 with combined “gross” revenues for the two facilities between $900,000 and $1,200,000 annually (depending on fluctuating compliance, specifically in the first two years of operations).